Saving Time and Anhedonia
A student in my class Organize or Agonize, posted a comment this morning from a book that I read years ago:
Thanks for sharing your readings.
I am an avid reader as well. I’m currently reading To Have or to Be? by Erich Fromm.
I ran across the following quote which I found quite characteristic of some of my discontent lately:
“We are a society of notoriously unhappy people: lonely, anxious, depressed, destructive, dependent–people who are glad when we have killed the time we are trying so hard to save”
The condition that Erich Fromm is talking about in that quote is better known as Anhedonia. This is described as the absence of pleasure from the performance of acts that would normally be pleasurable.
So why do we run ourselves ragged trying to find ways of saving time, only to experience boredom or depression when confronted with being alone unexpectedly?
Why indeed . . . we need to begin asking oursleves some new questions about chasing this elusive goal we call happiness. Let’s look closer at the process that we go through mentally. First comes the identification with a need or a desire. That need or desire will show up as some form of discontent, feeling of lacking or emptiness in life. So we kick our intellect into gear to see if we can’t figure out a way to fill up that emptiness, and of course we identify something external that seems to fill the bill. A new car, spouse or maybe a bottle of gin. Then off we trot to the squirrel cage to run ourselves ragged until we have the resources to obtain the external object or experience. Ahh . . . finally, a few moments of bliss.
Then, the newness begins to ebb . . . somebody leaves a ding in the car door, the new spouse has bad breath or the hangover ends and we are right back where we started – feeling empty, bored and discontented. Then, desire kicks back in and the cycle repeats itself.
If we are ever going to get off this merry go round, we are going to have to come to grips with the fact that the solution is not “out there”. We need to become aware that we have the power to deprive ourselves of good by our non-recognition of its presence.
I’m working hard at trying to lift the veil of my self non-acceptance and trying to become aware of the fact that life is pretty darn neat. I’ve given up getting all tied up in knots whenever one of life’s minor obstacles prevents me from fulfilling one of my endless cravings. I’ve decided to swap out all complaining self talk for gratitude for what is right.
The next time you find yourself a bit down or bored with your, life try some gratitude. You’ll be amazed at the results.